Shampooing Natural Hair 101

Shampooing Natural Hair 101

One of the relaxed hair care practices that also made it over to our natural hair care is shampooing. Although, the techniques have slightly changed, the goal still remains:

To cleanse your hair and scalp and get rid of any dirt and bacteria.

Before we dive deep into shampooing, let me just mention that there are three different ways you can cleanse your natural hair:

  • Clarifying: This is the process of using a sulfate shampoo (as opposed to a sulphate-free shampoo), a healing clay like Bentonite Clay or black soap to clarify your natural hair and scalp of any dirt, bacteria and product buildup. You can also use an Apple Cider Vinegar mix to clarify your scalp after your regular shampoo. Ideally you should clarify your scalp once a month.
  • Shampooing: This is the process of using a sulfate-free shampoo to cleanse your natural hair regularly. This will be explained in details shortly.
  • Co-washing: This is the process of using a rinse-out conditioner to cleanse your natural hair. This is usually done in between wash days especially when you’re really busy and you need a quick fix.

How to choose the right shampoo for your natural hair.

Before now, when we wanted to wash our hair, we either reached out for our bathing soap or grabbed any random shampoo from the shelf when we were shopping without paying any attention to the content of the shampoo, as long as it reads shampoo! Lol! That could work for our relaxed hair because it was not as demanding as natural hair. You could literally use ANY shampoo for your relaxed hair and you would be fine. You really can’t try that with natural hair because if shampooing is not done correctly, you might end up with a pile of dry and tangled mess.

So, when choosing a shampoo for your natural hair, the most important thing you need to look out for is the INGREDIENT LIST! There are certain things that should not be found in your natural hair shampoo. This is why a lot of people just stick to natural hair brands when buying natural hair products. (Learn how to choose natural hair products for your natural hair) Except you have a truck load of patience, it can be really stressful and time consuming going through the ingredient list of every shampoo in your supermarket.

Shampooing Natural Hair 101

But since you’re a beginner and probably can’t afford to buy hair products yet, there are two ways around it:

  • Make your homemade shampoo: This is as simple as melting a tiny piece of some raw African Black Soap in some hot water until it melts completely. When the liquid is cool, you pour it into an (applicator) bottle and wash your natural hair with it. It’s as simple as that. But the problem with this shampoo is that it doubles as a clarifying shampoo (see above) and will strip your natural hair of its natural oils leaving it dry and brittle. So you have to be very careful or limit the use to once a month.
  • Get a sulphate-free shampoo. In every shampoo, there’s a particular ingredient/chemical that makes it lather a lot. It’s called Sodium Laureth Sulfate aka SLS. SLS is not particularly good for your natural hair because it strips your natural hair of all its natural oils and nutrients leaving it dry and prone to breakage. You don’t want to shampoo your natural hair and have to deal with breakage as well. This is why you cannot afford to be using random shampoos on your natural hair because they are formulated with all kinds of chemicals that are not good for your natural hair and skin.

Best Practices for Shampooing your Natural Hair.

Now that you know how to choose the right shampoo for your natural hair, here are some tips that should guide you during wash days:

  • Make sure you clarify with black soap or a clarifying shampoo once a month to get rid of products that have built up in your scalp during the course of the month. Clarifying regularly also helps you prevent itchy scalp and dandruff.
  • You can shampoo with a sulfate-free shampoo weekly but it is not necessary except you have a heavy duty job. Instead try to alternate with a co-wash. Use a rinse-out conditioner to wash your natural hair. (Sample: Week 1 & 3 – cowash, Week 2 & 4 – shampoo)
  • Wash your natural hair in sections focusing on your scalp. You should focus on your scalp when shampooing to get rid of every last trace of dirt. You don’t want bacteria growing on your scalp. When rinsing, the water will cleanse your hair strands. You can use a scalp massager if you have one.
  • You can do a pre-shampoo treatment (also called a pre-poo) before shampooing your hair. It’s as simple as applying coconut oil on your natural hair for about 30 minutes BEFORE shampooing. This is particularly important if you use a random store-bought shampoo. A pre-shampoo treatment will prevent the chemicals from damaging your natural hair.
  • After shampooing, make sure you deep condition and dry your hair with an old t-shirt rather than a towel.

If you have any questions or you need further support, please join our Facebook group.

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